In response to growing concerns regarding care standards, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a royal commission into the aged care sector.
The investigation is set to focus on in-home and residential aged care given to seniors as well as care given to young people with severe disabilities.
The Prime Minister said he had been shocked by what he called a “disturbing” series of issues regarding non-compliance in the aged care system and cited information he had been briefed with since becoming Prime Minister in the Liberal leadership spill last month.
Mr Morrison said that one aged care centre had been closed by authorities and that several under were under sanction. He said that Australians should “brace ourselves” in preparation of “some pretty bruising information” regarding “real mistreatment”.
Following the Oakden nursing home scandal last year, where there were reports of seniors being denied food for difficult behaviour, the Government has been reviewing the quality of care in the aged care sector.
It is speculated that the Royal Commission has been prompted by the ABC’s recent Four Corners investigation into the matter. On the program, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said he did not believe a Royal Commission was necessary, preferring to instead spend the money on frontline services.
Standing alongside Scott Morrison, Mr Wyatt changed his position, citing that he had seen new evidence since the filming of the program that warranted a Royal Commission.
The move has been welcomed by the Labor party, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten saying that it was “overdue”.
Mr Shorten said that when he raised the issue of aged care a few months ago, he was accused of fear-mongering by the Government.
Mr Shorten cited issues of the impact of low pay for aged centre staff as well as a lack of qualified staff. He also mentioned the impact of Federal funding cuts.